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The 8th ICM Asia Pacific Regional Congress of Midwives: 'enriching discussion and exploration': Patricia Gomez of the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines writes of the events in Cebu, the Philippines, at the Asia Pacific Regional Congress.

The Congress--on the theme of 'Empowered midwives: a gateway to global health'--was held in the attractive surroundings of the Waterfront Hotel, Lahug, Cebu City, Philippines, October 15-17, 2006.

It was the first time that the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP), Incorporated, had hosted the Asia Pacific Regional Congress of Midwives. Seven participating countries sent their representatives to link arms with midwifery colleagues on this momentous occasion. These countries were New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Cambodia, Indonesia, USA and of course, the Philippines.

The congress ran for three days and Filipino delegates were delighted to benefit from the opportunity of this event in the history of IMAP and midwifery profession in the country. There were 280 participants, 40 foreign delegates and 240 Filipinos, the majority coming from the educational institutions and academia, particularly midwifery school principals, clinical instructors and even midwifery students.

The congress opened with a very festive mood of sinulog (a festival of dance associated with Cebu City held to honour the Santo Nino) to welcome the participants to the beautiful city of Cebu, mirroring its history and culture through the dance presentation. It was a pleasure to welcome acting ICM Asia Pacific Regional Representative, Sandy Grey, who attended this event. The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Jean Marc Olive, gave the keynote speech as he discussed the 'WHO: towards Achieving the Millennium Development Goals.'

A welcome reception was provided to entertain the delegates during the first day of the congress.

Midwifery education

The educators' forum marked the second day of the congress. The whole morning was filled with enriching discussion and exploration about the different midwifery curriculum models of the different participating Asia Pacific region countries. Speakers from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, USA and Philippines presented the current midwifery education model of their own countries.

The aim of this activity was to serve as a basis for the breakthrough and advancement of the midwifery education in the Philippines. The Director of the Office of Programs and Standards (OPS) of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the regulating body of the country on Tertiary Education, Ms. Catherine Castaneda discussed the current proposal of the Technical Committee on Midwifery Education (TCME) in the Philippines with regard to the proposed four-year Bachelor of Science degree in midwifery. ICM Asia Pacific Regional Representative Professor Junko Kondo of Japan was also present to give awards to the speakers.

Midwifery practice

Several Filipino speakers shared their experiences in the field of midwifery practice in the country. Midwives working in government, private hospitals, academia and even in privately owned clinics undergoing business entrepreneurship narrated their own stories.

Delegates from different countries also talked about their midwifery practice in their particular workplaces such as studies in Japan and Australia. The afternoon session of October 17 ended the congress with the discussion of 'The Future Direction of ICM' by Ms. Sandy Grey.

The lectures were given in the formal session with provision of visual materials during the discussions and about 10-15 minutes were allotted for every three presenters for the open forum and question and answers.

Filipinos showcased the hospitality and warm acceptance of the foreign delegates with a very festive mood of singing and dancing during the formal closing of the programme. Even the foreigners danced and moved as the congress ended!

There were no sponsorships from commercial companies. The proceeds of the event paid for the expenses of the association in hosting the congress.
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Author:Gomez, Patricia
Publication:International Midwifery
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jun 1, 2007
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